Soviets on ice : the reception of Soviet ice hockey propaganda in Canada, 1954-1981.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
This research paper examines how Soviet ice hockey was received by the Canadian media from 1954 to 1981. Canadian newspapers and game commentary have been utilised in this research paper to gage reaction to the Soviet success in ice hockey, and how the media viewed the Soviet National team. Soviet ice hockey challenged the Canadian public’s core belief that they were the best at their national game. In the Cold War climate this feud between the two sporting rivals would enable the Soviets to capture the attention of the Canadian public on a level which was not emulated through another form of propaganda. As de-Stalinisation was occurring in the Soviet Union, ice hockey would emulate Nikita Khrushchev’s policy of aggressive ‘peaceful coexistence’ by beating a Western nation at its own game. This paper is the first to extensively analyse the Canadian newspapers The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. Unlike most historiography in this field, this dissertation combines the amateur years of the Soviet-Canadian rivalry (1954-1969), with the games against professional NHL players in the Summit Series (1972-1981). From 1954 until 1970 ice hockey was seen as a clash of capitalist and socialist systems, however, the 1972 series personalised Soviet players to the Canadian media and public. Soviet ice hockey was a successful propaganda tool into Canada through applying a personal face to the Cold War foreign power.